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Lawn Mower Clipping Collection System - Patent 5778648

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The present invention relates to grass clipping collection systems for lawn mowers.Various collection systems comprising a collector which can be mounted on the rear of a riding mower have been developed to facilitate the collection of mower generated debris including grass clippings. Such systems generally include a blower orvacuum system that draws clippings from a discharge port in the mower deck to the collector.Assemblies which permit the user to dump the contents of the collector from the driver's seat are popular for use in riding mower collection systems. Such systems generally utilize a relatively rigid collection container or hopper having ahorizontal cross-section which is generally rectangular. In such systems a manually operable linkage assembly having one end positioned proximate the seat of the mower is often incorporated to allow a user to dump the contents of the collector throughrotation of the collector or by opening a door to the collector or both.A prior art device produced by The Grasshopper Company of Moundridge, Kans. includes a lever activated hopper for such a collection system in which the bottom of the hopper is sloped downwardly and rearwardly. The slope of the bottom of thehopper is sufficient to allow the contents of the hopper to fall out when a door extending across the rear of the collector is opened through activation of the manually operable linkage.In the Grasshopper device the air which is blown into the hopper by the blower is vented generally out the top of the hopper through a screen and directed rearwardly by deflectors. The rectangular cross-section of the hopper and design of theair inlet in the hopper result in poor air flow characteristics in the hopper, such that a significant quantity of clippings remain entrained in the air in the hopper and clog the screen. Clogging of the screen, increases back pressure and reduces theair flow through the system which adversely affects the delivery of grass clippings from the

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